Rhodiola is used as a so-called "adaptogen", to help the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical, and environmental stress. It is also used for many other reasons, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Altitude sickness. Early research shows that taking rhodiola doesn't improve how much oxygen is in the blood when at high altitudes.
- Heart damage caused by certain cancer drugs (anthracycline cardiotoxicity). Early research shows that taking a chemical found in rhodiola called salidroside, starting one week before chemotherapy and continuing throughout chemotherapy, reduces heart damage caused by the chemotherapy drug epirubicin.
- Anxiety. Early research shows that taking a specific rhodiola extract twice daily for 14 days can improve anxiety levels and mood in college students with anxiety.
- Athletic performance. There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of rhodiola for improving athletic performance. Overall, it seems that short-term use of some types of rhodiola products might improve measurements of athletic performance. However, neither short-term nor long-term doses seem to improve muscle function or reduce muscle damage due to exercise.
- Depression. Early research shows that taking rhodiola might improve symptoms of depression after 6-12 weeks of treatment in people with mild-to-moderate depression.
- Fatigue. Early research shows that rhodiola might decrease fatigue in stressful situations. A specific rhodiola extract seems to decrease fatigue and increase a sense of well-being in students taking exams, night-shift workers, and sleep-deprived military cadets. Other rhodiola extracts also seem to reduce mental fatigue in first-year college students and adults experiencing burnout. There is conflicting evidence regarding a combination product containing rhodiola extract, schisandra berry extract, and Siberian ginseng extract. Some research shows it improves mental performance in tired individuals performing mental tasks. Other research shows it doesn't work.
- A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Early research shows that specific rhodiola extract might lower anxiety and depression in people with this condition.
- Stress. Early research shows that taking a specific rhodiola extract before breakfast and lunch can improve stress in people with life-stress, college students with anxiety, and people experiencing burnout.
- Bladder cancer.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Common cold.
- Early orgasm in men (premature ejaculation).
- Flu (influenza).
- Hearing loss.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia).
- Increasing energy.
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
- Increasing response to sexual stimuli in healthy people.
- Symptoms of menopause.
- Other conditions.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Autoimmune diseases: Rhodiola might stimulate the immune system. In theory, it might worsen autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and others.
We currently have no information for RHODIOLA Interactions.
CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.